Thermal Solar Receivers

On central tower solar thermal power plants, the solar field consists of thousands of heliostats (mirrors on mounting poles with tracking capability) located on the ground, each of them individually controlled to concentrate the solar rays towards a receiver located at the top of a tower.

The heat flux reaching the receiver can exceed 1000 kW/m², which represents more than 1000 times the natural solar flux at the most exposed places on earth!

The receiver consists of vertical heat exchanger tube panels through which a heat transfer fluid (water or molten salt) absorbs the energy of the concentrated solar flux.

Thermal energy is used to generate electricity through a thermo-dynamical process, typically by generating superheated steam to feed a steam turbine that drives a generator as in the classic process of most power plants.

Related pages

Thermal solar energy

Steam Generators and Heat Exchangers